Ft. Lauderdale is for Lovers

As Ryan’s main birthday gift, I planned a mini weekend vacation¬†to Ft. Lauderdale for the two of us, not knowing at the time that it would be our first vacation as an engaged couple. ūüôā Woohoo!

Happy Couple in Ft. Lauderdale

Happy Couple in Ft. Lauderdale

We woke up nice and early on Saturday morning, took the pup on a walk (thanks Laurel for watching her!), and made a quick breakfast before embarking on the three hour drive (Yes, three hours from Orlando to Ft. Lauderdale. Ryan is “efficient.”).

While Ryan opted for yogurt and a protein shake, I made myself a healthified egg McMuffin, using Laughing Cow light Swiss cheese, egg whites, Canadian bacon and a sweet wheat alternative bagel.

Laughing Cow Light Swiss Cheese

Laughing Cow Light Swiss Cheese

Egg McMuffin: Revised

Egg McMuffin: Revised

Breakfast

Breakfast

After a few rounds of 20 questions and lots of wedding talk (I can’t help it!), we arrived at our hotel.

The Pillars Hotel

The Pillars Hotel

I booked our room at The Pillars Hotel, a gorgeous, small boutique hotel about a block from the beach. Ryan and I instantly fell in love with the romantic, comfortably elegant atmosphere of The Pillars.

Our room overlooked the pool and had a view of the intercoastal waterway.

The Pool at the Pillars

The Pool at the Pillars

Outside Our Room

Outside Our Room

By the Water

By the Water

There were a bunch of cute lounging areas in various cozy spots around the hotel.

Lounging Area

Lounging Area

Outside our room was a gorgeous high top table and snuggly love seat.

Our Room

Our Room

I can honestly say this hotel was beautiful,¬†luxurious, quiet and oh-so-romantic. Ryan and I both agreed it was one of the nicest hotels we’ve¬†ever stayed in on a vacation.¬†Boutique hotels are the best!

In Our Room

In Our Room

After checking in and getting situated, our tummies were grumbling, so we headed out to Las Olas Boulevard, where lots of cute shops and restaurants line the street.

In passing, Ryan selected Indigo, a restaurant located on the bottom floor of the Riverside Hotel to stop for lunch. In support of breast cancer awareness month, the tablecloths and napkins in the restaurant were pink. I loved it!

Indigo Restaurant

Indigo Restaurant

After looking over the menu, Ryan opted for a tuna salad sandwich and a cup of white bean soup.

Tuna Salad and Soup

Tuna Salad and Soup

Fishy!

Fishy!

I chose the marinated vegetable sandwich with feta cheese and sweet potato fries.

Veggie Sandwich and Fries

Veggie Sandwich and Fries

We both agreed that our lunch was just “meh.” Not particularly good, but not bad either. We left full, but not overly impressed with our food or the service at Indigo. At least the company was good!

After lunch we made our way over to the Rivership Cruises platform for a 90 minute tour of Ft. Lauderdale on the water.

Boat Tour

Boat Tour

On the tour we got to see lots of multi-million dollar yachts and homes. Wow, Ft. Lauderdale is one wealthy lil’ place. We saw the old homes of Sonny and Cher, John F. Kennedy’s mother, Farrah Fawcett and more.

After the boat tour, we headed back to our hotel and changed for a walk on the beach. The water was so pretty and the perfect temperature. We ended up on a part of the beach¬†that was, um, male dominated… and Ryan got a lot of looks! ūüôā My fiance is¬†a hottie!

We then jumped in the pool at our hotel and lounged on the chairs overlooking the water before showering and heading off to dinner.

Before Dinner

Before Dinner

Being on the ocean made both of us want seafood. We decided to go to 15th Street Fisheries Dockside Cafe, a restaurant that was pointed out to us on the boat tour.

We started off with an order of two dozen steamed clams and a dozen mussels steamed in a garlic sauce.

Clams

Clams

Mussels

Mussels

I LOVE steamed clams and mussels and these were absolutely perfect. So tasty. I think I could eat hundreds.

For our main dinner, I ordered peel-and-eat shrimp and Ryan ordered a Cuban sandwich.

Shrimpies

Shrimpies

Cuban Sandwich

Cuban Sandwich

Both options were phenomenal, though Ryan said my selection was “too much work.” ūüėČ His sandwich was the best Cuban sandwich I’ve ever tasted. (I’ve only had about two ever, but this was the best!).

His sandwich came with plantain chips which were super-addicting. They were attacked first!

Plantain Chips

Plantain Chips

As we were eating outside, we enjoyed a beautiful sunset and had a great time watching other diners feed the tarpon and fish near the dock. Those fish were huge! Very creepy.

Check Out the Rays!

Check Out the Rays!

Heeeere Fishy, Fishy, Fishy

Heeeere Fishy, Fishy, Fishy

(Yes, the above picture caption is a Deuce Bigalow reference. ;))

Though we were full, that didn’t stop us from hittin’ up Cold Stone Creamery for an extremely thick cookies ‘n’ cream milkshake. We slurped that puppy down before I snapped a picture, but it looked an awful lot like this:

Shake, Shake, Shake

Shake, Shake, Shake

Taaasty! Day one in Ft. Lauderdale was a success!!!

Day Two

Ryan and I are both cursed with the inability to sleep past 7:30 a.m. on weekends, so we were up before the sun this morning and headed out to the beach to catch the sunrise.

Me and Da Suuuun

Me and Da Suuuun

Though light clouds blocked the view, we still enjoyed the refreshing morning air… and a nice sunrise kiss!

Sunrise Kiss

Sunrise Kiss

We also enjoyed watching a passed-out college kid wake up on the beach as the sand-churning truck was headed straight for him. Classic.

Today Ryan is playing in a soccer game at 1 p.m., so we packed up our bags and hit the road by 7:45 a.m., stopping at McDonald’s for¬†breakfast (the first time¬†I’ve been there for anything other than¬†ice cream in years),¬†and I ordered¬†an¬†egg¬†McMuffin¬†while Ryan opted for two¬†breakfast burritos (and a Snickers bar¬†at¬†the next rest¬†stop… thatta boy!).¬†¬†We arrived back in Orlando just in time for an early lunch. Our Ft. Lauderdale mini vacation was a perfect escape from Orlando.

Today will be relaxing. I plan to hit the gym and grocery store and run some errands with Ryan while showering Sadie with lots of puppy-love since I missed my lil’ girl this weekend. Happy Sunday!